In 2016 the City of Pittsburgh, Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh (HACP), and the Bedford Dwellings community were awarded a $500,000 Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant to assist in transitioning Pittsburgh's Hill District into a viable, mixed-income community. As a result of this initiative, there are big changes ahead for the residents of the Bedford Dwellings, the oldest public housing community in Pennsylvania and the last of the Hill District's Wold War II era public housing communities. The Bedford Pop-up was developed as a public engagement/forum space for facilitating conversation between resident and developer about these changes and the residents’ options for future housing.
Given the indeterminate future of the lot and project’s constricted budget, the Pop-Up incorporates low-cost, minimally-invasive strategies for meeting programmatic requirements while creating an atmosphere that aspires to instill pride of place. Brightly-colored steel folding chairs offer durable, affordable, and flexible outdoor seating to accommodate large or small gatherings. A painted asphalt map of Pittsburgh activates the site, creating learning and play opportunities children, while also serving as an educational tool for counseling adults about housing alternatives. Tree saplings are proposed to provide much-needed shade on the site while also acting as an investment in the neighborhood’s future, as they could be replanted as landscaping features in future housing developments.
Aligning with PROJECT RE_’s mission, the Pop-Up integrates material diverted from landfill to create value-added components. Two eight-foot-tall, modular storage walls are constructed from waste lumber generated at PROJECT RE_ and are used to house the folding tables and chairs when not in use. Reclaimed benches sourced from Construction Junction are up-cycled and modified to create movable seating. Refurbished shipping crates serve as large planters for the saplings. It is estimated that developer investment for this project would be $18 per resident.
Housing Authority of Pittsburgh
Bedford Hope Center
Trade Institute of Pittsburgh
John Folan, UDBS Director
Community Design Center of Pittsburgh
Alise Kuwahara Day, UDBS Fellow